Sunday, November 27, 2011

Acqualina Resort and Spa: Miami Nice!

When a 12-year old kid says "I want to live in this hotel" as he is leaving, you know it has to be a special place. Such was the case with my nephew, who joined me for a post-Thanksgiving weekend on the beach at Acqualina Resort and Spa in Sunny Isles (near Miami), FL. He's not the only one who feels this way! I too, found myself thinking I could easily live here in our huge one-bedroom oceanview suite with its incredible beach views, gourmet kitchen (perfect for preparing Sunday brunch en suite), a bathroom the size of many hotel rooms, and a staff that simply couldn't be nicer. From Rodrigo at the front desk to all of the guys at the valet desk and at the beach, to Tino, the gracious Maitre'd at Il Mulino (where we had one of my favorite meals in the world), to the fantastic housekeeping staff who all made fast friends with Mikey the maltipoo (who also made himself perfectly at home at this pet-friendly Leading Hotel of the World), not a single staff member could have done his or her job any better.

I travel all of the time to visit hotels all over the world and it's not often I stay somewhere and find nothing I would change. They simply do everything right at Acqualina, and the exquisite decor, the discreet high-end service, and the impressive attention to detail does not go unnoticed. Families are certainly catered to, with plenty of kids activities from watersports to basketball to ping pong and pool games, and adults who prefer a quieter getaway will find it at the 20,000 square-foot Spa by ESPA with its serene oceanfront pool, impressive complimentary crystal steam/Finnish sauna facilities, beachfront yoga classes by Yogiiza, and a 24-hour gym.

While I never really enjoyed living in South Florida during my five-year stint, this three-night stay at Acqualina Resort and Spa in Sunny Isles definitely changed my mind about the Sunshine State. We'll be back to visit my newest favorite hotel sooner than later, and I am sure my nephew is looking forward to a return visit as well!

Our Virtuoso rates always include breakfast, a resort credit, upgrade priority, VIP treatment and more. Email me for more details at

Friday, September 16, 2011

Virtuoso Travel Mart = My Fashion Week

A few weeks ago, I returned from the annual Virtuoso Travel Mart in Las Vegas where I had the chance to meet with hundreds of top luxury hotels and travel person, one on one....and hear about the latest, greatest openings, renovations, excusive promotions and unique opportunities for our jet-setting clients.

In essence, Virtuoso Travel Mart to someone like me who eats, breathes, sleeps luxury travel is akin to New York Fashion Week for the fashionistas. It's the ultimate "Travel Buyer's Market" and an incredible way for me to find out what's hot and happening in the luxury travel world so that we can continue to stay on top of the trends and present the absolute best ideas and options for our clients around the globe. Just like the buyer from Barney's needs to know what's hot for fall fashion, I need to know the same for luxury travel.

The amount of information I brought home from Vegas this year is beyond "blog-post" friendly, but I do want to share some of my favorite finds. Below are just a few of the very cool things I learned at Virtuoso Travel Mart 2011 (more to come in next post, I promise!):

1. Hayman Island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef reopened August 1 after its cyclone-forced closure and an extensive renovation. What wows me most are the eight brand new Beach Villas, designed by Amanresorts designer Kerry Hill. .
Each villa features a private pool, a totally private terrace, outdoor shower, water views and very cool technology that even includes Apple TV with cable and movies. The "new" Hayman has honeymoon written all over it

2. Bulgari's newest hotel will open next spring in central London (near Hyde Park), just in time for the 2012 Olympics. The luxury brand's third hotel--following Milan & Bali--will have a sleek, silver-themed design and will feature 85 rooms and suites, a private screening room, a huge spa and an indoor pool. As a sibling of Ritz-Carlton, the Bulgari London will offer our clients exclusive STARS benefits along with VIP Virtuoso perks.

3. One of my favorite Italian hotels, the Gritti Palace in Venice, is closing for a 15-month, 43 milliion Euro renovation this fall. Upon reopening in January 2013, the legendary canal-side hotel will feature modern technology and a gorgeous new room and suite product. Recently added to the Virtuoso Venice hotel portfolio is the Gritti's 225-room sister property, Hotel Danieli (shown).
Fresh from a total redo of all three wings, the historic Danieli offers our Virtuoso clients breakfast-inclusive rates, priority upgrades and a $75 credit for dinner at the famed Terraza Danieli.

4. Casa del Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic is already an incredible vacation option for families, couples, golfers and it will be even easier for our NYC-area clients to reach when JetBlue adds twice-weekly service straight into La Romana from JFK this November. The totally renovated property features gorgeous suites and private villa homes, complete with their own private pools and access to the new BeachClub by Le Cirque.
All-inclusive options are available; our Virtuoso rates include full breakfast or a $200 spa credit depending on rate type booked. Note: There's Xmas space available for those still deciding where to spend the holidays, and until December 20, enjoy a free 5th night!

5. If all (or mostly) inclusive rates appeals to you, then you'll love the new concept from select Four Seasons hotels inlcuding those in Denver, Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Nevis, Palm Beach, Punta Mita (shown below), Scottsdale and Whistler.
The new packages include all sorts of extras from meals to in-room movies to complimentary parking, golf, transfers, spa treatments, golf, cabana rentals and more. The specific packages vary by property and are often combinable with our Preferred Partner perks.

For more information on the hottest happenings at the best luxury hotels or to book your next luxury vacation (or business trip!), contact me via email or call 310.979.9036.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer in the Mountains

In between booking incredible summer and fall vacations for our clients, I made an executive decision to take a much-needed, long weekend break to a hot new property I've been dying to see before it even opened. A huge fan of its sisters at the beach in Laguna and close by in Beverly Hills, I had no doubt that I'd fall in love at first sight with Montage Deer Valley. My hunch was 1000 percent correct, the newest Montage resort did NOT disappoint.

With its wonderful setting just minutes from downtown Park City, Utah and slopeside in Deer Valley amidst a backdrop of seemingly endless mountains, the 154-room resort is ideal for families (there are more activities for kids than I could count). It also works perfectly as a romantic getaway, was the site of a gorgeous wedding while we were there, and can easily accommodate high-end meetings and small groups. Spacious mountain-view rooms and suites, as well as huge residential-style two- to four-bedroom private residences, are beautifully decorated with plush furnishings, fireplaces, oversized tubs, full kitchens, and in most cases, patios and terraces with beautiful mountain views.

I only wish I'd added on a few extra days so I could have taken a few more mountain bike rides and hikes, and had a few more hours to relax by one of the hotel's two pools(outdoors when the sun was shining, indoors as the sun went down). The Thai yoga massage I received at Spa Montage from Brandon was one of the best I've had anywhere (including Thailand), and the food at both Apex (dont miss the lake trout) and Daly's was great. With billiard tables, video games and even four bowling lanes, Daly's is the perfect hang out after a long day in the great outdoors (such as the one we had on the Heber River rafting with the very fun team from All Seasons Sports).

Come winter, it's easy to picture skiers loving the level of luxury provided, from the custom-equipment fitting done right on-property by the hotel's own highly-trained staff to the infamous boot warmers to the hotel's slopeside location that allows incredibly easy access to Deer Valley's best runs.

The close proximity of Montage Deer Valley to Main Street Park City is another key selling point. The hotel has a fleet of Mercedes SUVs with drivers to shuttle guests back and forth, making it extremely easy to enjoy the town at their leisure. I'd definitely return to a few of the restaurants we tried, including Talisker on Main, Zoom, and Cafe Terigo. In fact, I WILL revisit these spots when I return to Montage Deer Valley next summer!

If you're considering a ski vacation this winter or looking for a last-minute summer or pre-snow fall getaway, definitely consider Montage Deer Valley. It's easy to get to from most spots (you fly into Salt Lake City) and we have amazing Virtuoso rates and added perks to offer (daily breakfast, upgrade priority, late 4pm check-out and special VIP treatment from our on-property friends!). Please contact me to inquire about summer and winter rates at Montage Deer Valley via email or phone 310-979-9036.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Elite Travel Gal's Insider Guide to LA

This summer, I decided to try something different. Instead of traveling to faraway places (as I do constantly all year), I thought it would be nice to spend much of the summer here in LA. After all, it is my favorite city in the world. In revisiting my own city, I've had the chance to uncover and rediscover my own personal "Best of LA". Below are my insider tips on what NOT to miss when you visit Los Angeles next:

Best newish restaurants: They've all been open for a bit so aren't completely new, but those new to my favorites list include Red Medicine (pictured), Cleo at The Redbury, Scarpetta at Montage Beverly Hills, Culina at Four Seasons Los Angeles, La Sandia at Santa Monica Place and Public at The Roosevelt. Yes, four out of six of these are in hotels (all but Red Medicine) but they're better than most stand-alone restaurants in LA.

Best spots for a power breakfast, or any breakfast for that matter: BLVD at The Beverly Wilshire and the rooftop poolside restaurant at The Peninsula Beverly Hills.

Best spot for lunch with a Hollywood view: Poolside at The Conservatory at Montage Beverly Hills. Stunning views to be had of the Hollywood Hills and the fish tacos may be the best in town. Poolside at Four Seasons Los Angeles is perfect if you prefer privacy and an intimate outdoor setting with your seafood salad (my personal favorite) or veggie stir-fry.

Best spot in Malibu for a casual lunch or dinner: Cafe Habana (by Rande Gerber) at the Malibu Lumber Yard. The corn on the cob, shrimp ceviche, fish tacos and chicken enchilada are stand-outs & there's usually a celeb spotting or two!

Best casual Santa Monica lunch spot: My top vote goes to FIG at Fairmont Miramar. Dishes run the gamut from healthy (warm quinoa salad) to completely unhealthy (a hot dog with fritos on top and fries on the side). Great service, cheerful setting and always a terrific experience.

Best special occasion restaurants: All of those on my "newish favorites" also make this list, to which I'd add Whist at Viceroy Santa Monica, The Bazaar by Jose Andres at the SLS and WP24 at the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles. After all these years, both Spago's Beverly Hills and Chinois on Main Street still deserves a shout out as they continue to impress with amazing food and warm service.

Best pizza (including gluten-free options for yours truly): Fresh Brothers, now open in Beverly Hills in addition to five other locations from Manhattan Beach to Calabasas

Best facialist in town: Hands down, the best hands in town belong to Vera Kantor, owner of VeraBella in Beverly Hills. Everyone from Nicole Richie to Madonna trust her with their skin, for good reason: she's the best.

Best juice in town: Pressed Juicery of course. Thrilled to see they've taken their healthy show on the road and opened at the Malibu Lumber Yard (as of last week) in addition to the Country Mart in Brentwood.

Best gluten-free bakery: Babycakes LA. A NYC import, this place rocks and is reason alone to drive downtown. Most of their delicious offerings (donuts, cupcakes, muffins, brownies) are gluten-free/vegan but you'd never know. We also love the chocolate brownies from Livia's. Handmade with love by a local family, these can be found for sale every Sunday at the Brentwood Farmer's Market (among others).

Best organic yogurt & treats: Cafe Rivva in Brentwood Gardens (same spot where my favorite nail salon, Nail Garden is located) is not just another Pinkberry-type frozen yogurt spot. There are multiple choices of organic flavor options, dairy free & wheat free options too. Chris the owner is fantastic, tell him I sent you if you stop by!

Best yoga spot: For years, I have been a YogaWorks loyalist and I still am. I rotate my mat between the Montana Ave, South Bay and Pacific Palisades studios depending on my schedule and who's teaching. Fave teachers include Al Tavera, Nichola Dunne, Doug Binzak and Amy Rose Stabley.

Other local gems: You'd never know about these places unless a local takes you....A Votre Sante in Brentwood for healthy cuisine morning til night, The Farmshop at the Brentwood Country Mart, Compartes in Brentwood for handmade chocolates, Lenny's Deli in Pacific Palisades for a typical deli-style meal, and Lares or Don Antonios for traditional Mexican food.

This is just a sampling of my personal favorites. Of course, we can always assist with booking you into the BEST hotels here in LA as we have personal relationships with the general managers and staff at each. It goes without saying that Elite Travel International clients always get the VIP treatment and lots of extra special perks here in LA. Contact us or 310.979.9036 for help with your next Los Angeles experience.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stylish Summer Travel Specials

Still deciding where to travel this summer? Need help narrowing down the options? Don't worry, as that is what we are here for. We know how overwhelming it can be when you're bombarded with emails, tweets and promos on a daily basis, so we regularly scour our luxury travel deal-filled inbox on your behalf. Below are a few favorite offers currently available to those seeking a relaxing upscale getaway in style.

Ventana Inn & Spa: Book a two-night stay in Big Sur through a preferred travel agency like Elite Travel International and receive a $100 to $200 resort credit depending on room/suite category. Book by July 18 for travel through December 30.

La Casa Que Canta: Enjoy Zihuatanejo at its best at this romantic gem where 3rd night is free through October. Our exclusive rates include breakfast for two, round-trip airport transfers + 20% discount on additional meals.

Four Seasons Milan: Shop til you drop then relax & dine in style at this fashionable hotel where you will enjoy 150 Euro food/beverage credit & 20% discount off city-wide limo services through Sept 4. In August, 3rd night's half off. Plus, enjoy our Preferred Partner perks (daily breakfast, a comp lunch and priority upgrade!).

Four Seasons Hualalai: You'll be hard-pressed to find a better family travel offer to Hawaii this summer. Fresh from a facelift, this luxurious Big Island resort (pictured) offers our clients a second room at 50% off Jun 20-July 21 and August 21-Nov 17, as well as Preferred Partner amenities (breakfast and a complimentary lunch).

XIV Beacon: Stay "Fit & Fabulous" this summer at this Boston boutique hotel with a wellness package priced from $985/night inclusive of a one-hour private yoga session in-room or on the private roof deck; one-day bike rental; one-hour deep tissue massage; and daily power breakfast.

Ritz-Carlton Caribbean: From Cancun to Grand Cayman to St. Thomas to San Juan (and Jamaica too), the Ritz-Carlton resorts of the region offer various 4th and 5th night free package options all summer long. Go all-inclusive from $439/night in Jamaica or Reconnect in St Thomas for $489/night with $100 hotel credit as an extra bonus. Be sure to ask us about our STARs priority perks!

Why book through Elite Travel International? We will always get you the absolute best value and VIP recognition from our friends at luxury hotels worldwide, and you'll enjoy exclusive VIP perks & amenities thanks to our privileged partnership with Virtuoso and our preferred agency status with Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Orient Express, Rosewood, Park Hyatt, Starwood, Leading Hotels of the World, Small Luxury Hotels, Preferred Hotels & others around the globe.
For more ideas and info, email or phone 310.979.9036

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spain on the Brain

Just a few days after returning from a 10-day adventure in Spain, I'm wishing I were still lounging poolside at the Marbella Club or strolling along the beach in Barceloneta (pictured) or shopping on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona. It's rare that I return from a trip and just days later, am already plotting my return, but Madrid, Marbella & Barcelona are cities that have that "I want to go back" effect on me. Each has its own special selling points...

Madrid boasts stunning architecture, sophisticated style and beautiful buildings amidst sprawling parks. Marbella, to me, is the best of Miami & Malibu combined with its gorgeous beaches, the best hotel in Costa del Sol plus easy proximity to Puerto Banus, Ronda, Granada and the charming, boutique-filled Old Town Marbella to explore. And then there's Barcelona...the hip, cool, fun city dotted with chic hotels (including my new favorite, more on this below), amazing tapas bars, and art and style pretty much everywhere you look thanks to Miro, Gaudi, Picasso & more.

Not only did I love the locations in Spain, but stays at The Ritz Madrid, Marbella Club, and the new Mandarin Oriental Barcelona are a MUST.

The most stylish boutique hotel in Barcelona, with 98 rooms/suites, is the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. Loved for its location right on Passeig de Gracia(between Brioni and Tiffany), the property is sleek but warm, with lots of light-filled space from its Blanc restaurant to the welcoming lobby to the guest rooms and suites (the ones with outdoor garden-facing terraces are my favorite).

The massive Penthouse Suite regularly hosts royal families, who love it for the fact that it takes up the entire top floor. Other memorable mentions: the Asian-inspired, peaceful Spa; the chic Banker's Bar (reflective of the building's "former bank" history"); a rooftop terrace with pool & cityviews (pictured); an outdoor garden for all-day courtyard dining; and most notably, a hands-on General Manager (Gerard Sintes) who's constantly seen chatting with his staff and his guests and ensuring that everyone in house is beyond well taken care of. Sidenote: When in Barcelona, don't miss the opportunity to book an outdoor table at local favorite La Bodega or to book seats at a trendy tapas spot called Bar Mut (rumor has it Robert DeNiro loved it so much when he dined here that he's in talks with the chef to bring one to NYC!)

In Madrid, my favorite hotel is the timeless, 100-year-old classic, Hotel Ritz Madrid. The staff and the service is impeccable, and while the traditional style may be anything but modern, there is an elegance about this Orient-Express-run property that can't be duplicated by newcomers. Located just steps away from the famous Prado Museum in the "Golden Triangle" of Madrid, the 137-room hotel oozes a sense of "royalty stays here". I loved how the waiters remembered my preference for gluten-free toast without having to ask each morning; I also loved lunching on the garden-filled outdoor terrace (shown above) before heading out to see the city's key sights (all a short walk from the hotel). There are few hotels in the world that rival Hotel Ritz Madrid when it comes to the level of service; it's what sets this grande dame apart from the competition. Note: When in Madrid, take the advice of Ritz Sales Director Fabio Ramirez and have dinner at Rincon de Esteban, just down the street. We did, and it was one of our favorite meals of the trip!

Last but not least, no trip to the cities of Spain would be nearly as much fun without a few days of R&R at The Marbella Club. An easy scenic drive(about 40 minutes) from Malaga, the Marbella Club is a relaxed residential-style Beach Club at its best. The landscaped-filled grounds are dotted with gorgeous garden-facing villas, rooms and suites and there are also a handful of newer suites and rooms closer to the beach with ocean views. A huge selling point of this Leading Hotel of the World is its steps-from-the-sea thalassotherapy spa, coupled with multiple swimming pools, delicious food (the daily poolside lunch buffet at the Beach Club is a must as is dinner at the casual MC Cafe. A stroll along the beach-fronting boardwalk towards Puerto Banus or Marbella is a perfect way to start a day here in Marbella, while meandering through nearby Old Town was my favorite way to end this memorable experience. My only mistake at the Marbella Club: Not spending more than two nights here as it's truly a spot to enjoy sheer relaxation in a stunning setting.

For more information or to plan an upcoming trip to Spain--and for more details on the extra special perks (breakfast inclusive rates, unique amenities + priority upgrades) you will enjoy when booking Mandarin Barcelona, Ritz Hotel Madrid and The Marbella Club through Elite Travel International--, contact us by email or 310.979.9036.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Be treated like the STAR You Ritz-Carltons worldwide

Earlier this week I co-hosted an amazing event for potential clients with our friends from Ritz-Carlton Hotels worldwide. During the event held at the Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey, we had the chance to share with these clients all of the benefits of booking their Ritz-Carlton hotel stays through a Ritz-Carlton STARS-affiliated travel consultancy like Elite Travel International. As one of them said to me: "Why would I ever book a Ritz-Carlton directly now that I know breakfast and late check out are included everytime I book through you?" EXACTLY.

In addition to receiving complimentary breakfast for two, a customized welcome amenity, a personal VIP welcome, a priority upgrade and late check-out on request, many of the Ritz-Carlton hotels offer timely promotions EXCLUSIVE to their STARS partners. NOTE: These opportunities will not be found online or through the hotels directly.

Below are examples of the "above and beyond" special perks you'll enjoy when booking these particular Ritz-Carlton hotels through us:

The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey: Enjoy an upgrade to Club Level when booking an Executive Suite

The Ritz-Carlton, LA: Through April 27, book two nights and enjoy a complimentary third night

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay (pictured): Complimentary overnight parking and confirmed upgrade valid through June 30, 2011.

The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun: Book Club Level accommodations & enjoy a $200 resort credit for food/beverage or spa treatments

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel: Book one Ambassadors of the Environment eco-adventure and the second is half-price.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman: Enjoy a one-category upgrade and a complimentary beach cabana on bookings now through June 27, 2011.

The Ritz-Carlton, Jamaica
: Book a garden or ocean view room and be upgraded to a garden or ocean view suite respectively through December 23.

The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta: Complimentary upgrade to a City View Guest Room at time of booking. Based on availability at time of booking and valid from May 1 through August 31.

The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead: Complimentary upgrade to a Premier Guest Room at time of booking. Based on availability May through Aug 31.

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas: Lady Lynsey sunset sail for 2 people valid through July 31st based on a 5-night booking.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua: Book Deluxe or a One-Bedroom Garden View Suite and receive an upgrade to Ocean View for travel August 15 – Dec 22, 2011. Bookings must be made by June 30, 2011.

To enjoy these exclusive offers and to hear about additional exclusive STARS promotions at Ritz-Carlton Hotels worldwide, contact your STARS-affiliated travel pro Stacy Smallat 310.979.9036 or

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Morning Picks: Luxe Deals of the Week

Somehow last week flew by before we had a chance to post our Top 5 Luxury Travel Finds. But, there are plenty of options for you to consider...especially if you want to splurge on luxury travel this spring or summer! Here are this week's picks:

1) La Samanna, St. Martin: Book a five-night stay in a three- or four-bedroom villa at La Samanna on St. Martin and enjoy two complimentary nights. One-bedroom suites are currently priced at 30% off. Our rates at this Orient-Express Caribbean gem always include breakfast and extra VIP touches.

2) Last-minute getaway alert! If you're looking for a last-minute getaway and enjoy great food, golf/spa and sunshine, don't miss the Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Classic at St. Regis Punta Mita coming up April 28-May 1. Rates from $1,180 per person include three nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, airport transfers, choice of two rounds of golf or two 90-minute massages, two lunches and three gourmet dinners prepared by top chefs.

3) Chicago Style: The best deal going at a luxury hotel in Chicago has to be our Virtuoso rates at Trump International Hotel Chicago. Choose from a spacious studio-style suite for under $400/night or the larger (1000-square-foot-plus)one-bedroom suite for under $500 this summer (rates vary by dates). Our rates always include breakfast for two, a $100 spa credit and upgrade if available.

4) Spa by the Beach: Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach makes it easy to pamper yourself in well-deserved spa treatments. Book a three-night stay and enjoy "hotel/spa credit" equal to the value of your third night. Or, stay during the week and enjoy a $250 spa credit, along with our Virtuoso perks of daily breakfast and an upgrade on arrival.

5) Hike or Bike in Ojai: The "Hike or Bike" package offered through end of April at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa starts at $365/night and includes a guided hike or bike tour, plus breakfast and lunch during your stay.

For more ideas or to book any of the above, contact us at 310 979 9036 or via email

Friday, April 1, 2011

Switzerland to Spain: Top 5 Luxe Europe Deals!

With so many clients inquiring about spring & summer trips to Europe, what better time than now to share some of the best luxury European hotel offers hitting our inbox? Here are this week's picks for FIVE top luxury deals to keep in mind if Europe's on your to-do list:

1) The Dolder Grand, Zurich: This stunning Leading Hotel of the World offers several terrific options, including a two-night "Spring Taste" through May. The package includes two nights' accommodations, daily breakfast, a 60-min Kerstin Florian massage and a three-course dinner in the Garden Restaurant from $1820

2) Villa San Michele, Florence: This Orient-Express favorite offers a "Florence at Leisure" package priced from $2342 through November inclusive of two nights in a deluxe room, daily breakfast, one gourmet dinner for two at La Loggia Restaurant, one poolside lunch and two tickets to the Uffizi Gallery.

3) Palazzo Sasso, Ravello: Located in the charming cliffside town of Ravello on the Amalfi Coast, Palazzo Sasso offers our clients Virtuoso rates from $774 for a seaview room inclusive of breakfast, free Wifi, an upgrade if available and a bottle of Spumante on arrival.

4) Hotel Le Bristol, Paris: Stay three nights or more at this Parisian gem and our Virtuoso rates will include a complimentary limo transfer from the airport, in addition to an upgrade at time of booking, daily full breakfast and a VIP welcome!

5) Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona: This Spanish city's newest star (pictured) offers a complimentary 4th night to guests booking suites as part of its "Suite Temptations" package. Also available are family, romance and spa packages; Virtuoso clients booking best available room rates will always enjoy daily breakfast, an upgrade if available, plus a bottle of wine and a selection of tapas for two at the stylish Banker's Bar.

For more information or to book any of the above (or to inquire about more European luxury vacation options!), contact or phone 310.979.9036.

Friday, March 25, 2011

March Madness: Final Five Faves!

While hoops fans everywhere are paying close attention to who will make it to the NCAA Final Four, we're paying close attention to which luxury travel companies are offering their version of March Madness deals. Here are Elite Travel Gal's Top FIVE picks of the week:

1) La Costa Resort and Spa: This newly renovated San Diego spa & golf resort offers a free 4th night through June 30, as well as a promo for shorter stays that includes a $50 nightly resort credit for F&B, spa or the kids' club.

2) Montage Beverly Hills: Why book a stay here through a Virtuoso agent? Because only we can get you the 3rd night free on stays through June 15. Our rates include daily continental bfast for two, a $100 spa credit, free wifi and an upgrade if available!

3) Soho Beach House: Now open on Miami Beach, the hip chic Soho Beach House (shown above) offers our clients special "members only" rates inclusive of daily continental breakfast, a 30-min spa treatment and champagne on arrival.

4) Covecastles Anguilla: Book 5 nights or more April 16-Aug 30 and enjoy 10% discount off nightly rate, daily breakfast, a two-day car rental and a half-day island tour with picnic lunch.

5) Four Seasons Marrakech: This gorgeous new resort in the center of the city is now taking reservations for stays from June 15. Our Preferred Partner rates will include daily breakfast for two, a $100 spa credit and priority upgrade status on arrival.

Of course, these are just a few of the fabulous luxury travel offerings that hit our desk this week. Contact us directly 310.979.9036 or for more information on top options worldwide or to book any of the above!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Friday Faves...Featuring London

After a full week of meetings and hotel inspections here in London, it's only fitting that this week's edition of our Favorite Friday finds includes offers from a few new faves. Stay tuned, too, for upcoming posts about the new and newly renovated hotels now open (or opening soon) London-wide!

Here are ETG's picks of the week:

1) Think it's impossible to visit London during the Royal Wedding? Think again: Brand new (officially opening April 2) and ultra-luxe Corinthia London has rooms available from 450GDP/nt. Many rooms & suites feature London Eye views, the 294-room hotel houses the first ESPA Life Spa concept, a David Rockwell-designed restaurant and we love that rates here include WiFi and spa/gym access.

2) The Metropolitan London: This chic boutique Como Hotel across from Hyde Park offers an incredible 3rd night free deal on select weekends valid for arrivals on Thurs or Friday for stays of three nights. Rates are almost too good to be true (but once booked, are nonrefundable/non-changeable). If do you prefer more flexibility, book our breakfast inclusive rates from 229GDP/nt including breakfast for two, free WiFi and special VIP perks!

3) Four Seasons Park Lane: Officially open for business after a two-year-plus renovation, this Four Seasons clais better than ever. Service is unbelievably flawless and the new rooms and suites are stunning. Our Preferred Partner rates include daily breakfast for two, a $100 spa credit and free WiFi if you book a suite. The hotel's house car--a stylish new Rolls--will also gladly get you around town in style.

4) Parrot Cay: If warm weather, healthy cuisine and spa treatments in a gorgeous island setting is what what you are craving, check out the five-night Como Shambhala package from Parrot Cay. Rates start about $1350/nt in April but do vary by dates and include: breakfast, a healthy three-course lunch and dinner daily; round-trip airport transfers; complimentary yoga and Pilates classes; and six 60-minute spa treatments per room.

5) La Samanna, St. Martin: This classic beach resort by Orient-Express has a terrific "Suite Summer" promo in effect from May through Dec 21st. Book a one-bedroom suite for a minimum of five nights and enjoy breakfast-inclusive rates from $485.

To book or for more details on these and other luxury travel offerings worldwide, email or call us 310.979.9036.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ETG's Luxury Travel Deals of the Week

With so many amazing luxury travel options to choose from, we know it can be a challenge deciding where to go next. That's why every Friday we highlight our favorite FIVE Finds of the week. Here are this week's picks:

1) Rosewood San Miguel del Allende: Rosewood's newest property (sibling to Las Ventanas and Rosewood Mayakoba)in San Miguel del Allende Mexico offers a Grand Opening package through April 20. Rates from $295/night include breakfast, 25% off spa treatments and valet parking.

2) Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is offering the use of a luxury car rental (Mercedes, Audi, Cadillac, Volvo or convertible Mini Cooper) to our clients who book a One-Bedroom Suite or above. Suite guests will also receive comped valet parking and use of a JAMBOX speaker to use in-room with their iPod, iPad, laptop. Our rates at Four Seasons LA include Preferred Partner perks: daily breakfast for two, $100 spa credit, priority upgrades and free WiFi for suite guests.

3) Bristol Buenaventura: This Leading Hotel of the World offers a great deal for families at Panama's only true five star beach resort. Book 2 rooms and receive 50% off on the 2nd room, 10% off on Spa Treatments, daily breakfast for the family, pay for 2 days Kids Club activities and get one day free plus kids under five eat free through Dec 18.

4) Hotel Le Toiny: Bring the baby to St. Barts with Le Toiny's new Babymoon Package. Includes daily full American breakfast; babysitter for three evenings/days; use of a convertible Mini Cooper equipped with baby seat; and for the parents, a three-course candlelight dinner; a couples massage; Champagne and flowers.

5) Hotel Cipriani: Our favorite Venetian hotel by Orient-Express offers a "Great Affordable" package inclusive of three nights in a lagoon-view room, daily breakfast, round-trip transfers, one poolside lunch and two meals at Cip's Club or the Fortuny Restaurant. Priced from 3800E through end of May, and again Jun 6-Nov 1. Ask us about special family packages and 3rd night free offers over select dates as well.

For more information or to book any of this week's luxury travel deals, email or call 310.979.9036.

Friday, March 4, 2011

TOP 5 Luxe Travel Deals of the Week

Many of you are often calling and emailing us for the inside scoop on the best luxury travel deals. With that in mind, we will be curating the hundreds of offers that hit our inbox each week and posting the EliteTravelGal's FAVE FIVE FINDS every Friday. Below are the offerings we love this week:

1) St. Regis Bora Bora: Book a premier overwater bungalow or above category for stays now through May 31 and our rates will include a FREE 4th night plus breakfast AND dinner daily. '

2) Cruise Europe aboard Windstar this spring/summer and receive $1000 in shipboard credit. Dates/itineraries vary.

3) Four Seasons Florence: Book a 3-night "Romance Package" and combined with our Preferred Partner rates you'll enjoy daily breakfast, a four-course dinner with wines, round-trip transfers, a $100 spa gift certificate plus a 75-minute couples' massage and a 222Euro voucher to spend at the local La Perla boutique in Florence!

4) Bike, eat & drink your way through Bordeaux or Provence this spring with our friends at Duvine Adventures and enjoy a $200 per person savings.

5) Viceroy Anguilla's Hot Nights Cool Rates offers one complimentary night for each night booked for stays June through November. We'll also get you breakfast included at this stunning beach resort (pictured above) as a special Virtuoso perk!

For more details or to book any of this week's FAVE 5 luxury travel deals, email me or call us at 310.979.9036.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sweet San Francisco

With all the frequent and often international travel I do, sometimes nothing makes me happier than a long, relaxing weekend in a cool city like San Francisco. Where better to spend a romantic Valentine's Day than in this fun city--less than an hour away by plane--filled with fabulous restaurants, gorgeous settings, fun touristy attractions and of course, great hotels?

Everytime I visit this city I like to try a different hotel and new neighborhood, but after my recent experience at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, I'm not sure I'll ever switch again. Perched high up on Nob Hill , the Ritz-Carlton bears an interesting resemblance to the White House and service is, as you might expect at such a stately classic, beyond top notch. The newly renovated Club Level rooms (pictured) are definitely the way to go; with fresh displays of homemade treats pretty much morning to night, this is the best Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge I've seen (ranking up there with my favorite at Hotel Arts in Barcelona).

I must admit, the all-day dining benefits of the Club Lounge were enjoyed in moderation as this trip was definitely centered around incredible meals! Favorites were enjoyed at restaurants including The Slanted Door (best Vietnamese food in the city, and possibly the States), Postrio (a timeless classic), Fleur de Lys (go for dessert if you can't get a coveted dinner rez) and Michael Mina (relocated in the original Acqua spot, just down the street from another favorite hotel, Mandarin Oriental San Francisco). Also loved lunching with friends at Murray Circle at Cavallo Point Hotel in Sausalito; I highly recommend this on a sunny day! And of coure, set aside time for leisurely dim sum at Hang Ah Tea Room; the decor is no-frills but it's one of Chinatown's best!

In between all the eating, our favorite activity was walking...up and down the hills, through North Beach, past Fisherman's Wharf, and of course over to Ghiradelli Square. I can't possibly go to San Francisco without a visit to my favorite chocolate shop. In fact, I'll definitely stop in again when we return to San Francisco in May for another special occasion and a few more amazing meals!

If you'd like to experience a luxurious trip to the City by the Bay, contact us for more information about our Virtuoso/STARS rates at the Ritz-Carlton which include breakfast, $100 food & beverage credit, free internet access, and priority upgrades. We also have terrific Preferred Partner benefits (daily breakfast, priority upgrade and a complimentary lunch) at the lovely Four Seasons San Francisco and special perks for our clients booked at the Mandarin-Oriental, the Fairmont, Campton Place among others.

Contact us for more details at 310.979.9036 or reach me via email

Monday, January 31, 2011

Yoga By the Beach?

Calling all yogis, golfers and spa lovers for a Memorial Day weekend filled with all of the above at the beautiful St. Regis Punta Mita (one of my personal favorite Mexican beach resorts!).

The first in an exclusive Wellness Series to be offered on property this year, the Memorial Day Yoga & Golf Weekend will include a mix of spa treatments, golf, and yoga session taught by Katherine Roberts--a fitness expert and regular contributor for The Golf Channel. She is also the official yoga instructor for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres!

Yoga & Golf takes place May 27-30 and includes three nights’ luxury accommodations; three rounds of golf on either of Jack Nicklaus’ two signature courses; daily pre- or post-game yoga sessions on the beach taught by Roberts; a 30-minute one-on-one private session with Roberts, who will analyze guest’s swing to help provide certain yoga techniques to improve flexibility and swing; a 90-minute Better Swing Golfer’s Massage at Rem├Ęde Spa; and complimentary daily breakfast at Marietas Restaurant. Rates for the Yoga & Golf Package start at $1,450 per person for a three-night stay based on double occupancy.

For more details or to reserve your spot for this special weekend, email me at or call us at 310.979.9036. Hope to see you there!